Home / Ranma 1/2 Fanfictions / Yuuki

Back in June White Wolf had a contest to see what we could write in 1 hour. This is what I came up with.

{Start: 8:52 PM, June 24,1997}



By Joseph Palmer

A 1 Hour Fanfiction

Click -- Clack.

Click -- Clack.

Yuuki Matsushita tried the switch again.

Click -- Clack.

I suppose the light’s burned out, he thought. Not the sort of omen he had hoped for this morning. He fumbled between the shelves and boxes, feeling his way to the front of his new shop. He made it without banging his ankles again -- they’d had enough of that at his old apartment. His hand brushed against the warm metal of the roll up door. He worked gingerly to the edge where he found the chain, and after a few moments of fumbling, freed it from the locking slot. He pulled at it tentatively. It refused to budge. What next? he thought, Oh yeah, it’s probably a loop. He pulled the loose side through his hand until he felt it come tight on the other side.

Yosh! I can do this! I know I can do this! he thought. He steeled himself and pulled the chain again. This time the door lifted and the golden early morning sun flooded the floor. He kept a confident pace on the chain, the sun now finding the wares stacked near the door. New brooms and mops were standing near the front, next to a large table covered in bowls and cello packed sponges. A neat display of cleaning powders and liquids was next, then shelves of cheery kitchen towels.

He let out his breath, realizing only then he had been holding it. My own business, he thought. My first day. If my father could only see me now, he thought sadly. He pushed a pair of small displays out onto the street, claiming those precious millimeters for his wares. Finally he tipped the banner on its pole, and spinning the pole in his hands, rolled the heavy base out to a spot on the right, next to the street tables. He tipped it up and gave the ‘housewares’ banner a confident tug.

“Ha.. well done!” he heard from behind, then the sound of clapping. He turned to see who it was. Before him stood a man in his mid forties by the look of his face, but still fit and trim. With him was an older man in a clean but worn green apron.

“Welcome! Welcome, I’m Izumi Takashi, I have the bicycle shop there...” he pointed two doors up the street. “And this..”

“Shintaro Miyazo, vegetable shop.” the older man filled in gruffly.

“Ah, thank you, I’m Yuuki Matsushita,” he said, bowing deeply. The others bowed, and came back up smiling.

“We heard you were reopening the shop, and thought we’d come by and make you welcome.”

“Ah, thank you. It’s good to know I have such thoughtful neighbors.”

“You’re in a good spot here,” said the older man nodding his head. “You’ll do fine.”

“That’s good to hear, I was a bit worried, since the former owner was in such a hurry to sell.”

“Ah well, you see..., he didn’t follow the rules.” Takashi revealed.

“The rules?” Yuuki’s heart froze. Perhaps this area was under the control of the yakuza.

Maah.. Maah... Why the long face?”

“I didn’t know...”

Hmmp. It’s not what you think. There’s none of that here,” the vegetable man said. “The rules have to do with a special customer.”

“A very special customer.” added the bike man.

“Real trouble?” asked Yuuki.

“Has been for some.” The older man kicked at the pavement.

“No, not at all. A real angel, this customer.” said Izumi.

“So what’s the trouble?” asked Yuuki.

“Perhaps she is an angel. That’s the trouble. Divine retribution, I’d call it,” the old man grumbled.

“Or divine reward...” started Izumi. “Take the last guy who had your shop. Do you know what happened?”

“No...” Yuuki replied.

“It’s like this...” Izumi began. “She came in one day, and he sold her some towels. No problem with that, It’s just that he charged her for best quality towels, and gave her some poor seconds. She never complained. But she didn’t come back. And neither did anyone else. I tried. I’d come down looking to buy something for my shop, and I just couldn’t seem to find it. Everything just looked wrong.”

“Oh no! I just spent all my savings on this inventory!” Yuuki sobbed.

“No, it wasn’t that. It was The Customer. He cheated the customer.”


--- 9:52 PM. 1 Hour. Time’s up, but I’ll keep going ---


“What happened? did she go about telling all the women in town?”

“No. I asked my wife. She just said that she didn’t need anything at that shop. It was that way for 3 weeks. Not one broom. Not one scouring pad. Not one bath bowl. Not one scrub brush. No one seemed to need them anymore.”

“My life savings!” Yuuki cried, and crumpled to the pavement.

“Get up fool,” the old man intoned. “I expect you will have great business today, and tomorrow, and as long as you want to stay here. Just don’t cheat the customer. I myself had my old broom come apart in my hands this morning, and last night damned if I didn’t finish my last bar of soap, and use the last of the dish detergent. I’ll bet the whole town is in the same condition.”

“But how...”

“No one knows. Just don’t cheat the customer.”

“Will you point her out? should I giver her a special disc..”

“STOP! NO! Don’t even say it. Don’t even THINK it.” The old man was shaking.

“Sorry, I...”

“It’s okay,” said the bike man. “It’s just that Miyazo-san here tried that once. He gave her an extra orange. That’s all. One orange.”

“I never sold another from that batch. Or the next. Finally I gave them away, one per customer. For a whole day. The next day I couldn’t keep the shelves stocked. They flew out the store. It’s fairness, I think.”

“Fairness?” Yuuki’s head was spinning.

“Near as I can tell If you give a discount or something to the customer, you need to give it to every customer. It’s okay then.”

“Huh.” was all Yuuki could manage.

“There’s one more thing.” the bike man began. “If the customer likes something, order more. Lots more. If she buys prawns one day, half the town has prawns the next. If she needs rice, the whole town needs rice.”

“You don’t say.”

“So if she buys a mop from you, call your wholesaler.”


“Now, I’d like a broom please, and there’s a few other things,” The vegetable man said, patting Yuuki on the back as he walked in.

“Oops, and I have a customer!” the bike man said, dashing for his shop.

Soon the store was fairly full of patrons, filling baskets with brushes, soap and light bulbs. The old man walked up to Yuuki and handed him his basket.

“Please let me be your first customer,” he said.

“Thank you!” Yuuki bowed, then rang up the merchandise and placed the money into the register, except for a 100 yen coin, which he swapped with one in his pocket. “Souvenir” he said, sheepishly. Miyazo smiled and took up his purchases to go.

“Wait!” Yuuki called, chasing him to the front. He whispered in his ear. “You never told me who the customer was!”

“Ah, well...” he began, then looked up at the door and smiled. “Yuuki Matsushita, I’d like you to meet Kasumi Tendou. Kasumi is my best customer.”

June 24,1997

Web Published: October 22, 1997

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"Yuuki" 1997 Joseph Palmer

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